Destination India

Mission

Miguel and I traveled around India (specifically Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi) and shared the craft of plastic bag crochet with various NGOs, community groups, and individuals.

The plan was to study India’s plastic bag problem, teach freeform plastic bag crochet, spread the message of plastic bag conservation, and inspire others to recycle single-use plastic bags into fashionable, reusable creations – creations that could possibly provide a revenue stream for impoverished communities. Thanks to all the wonderful people we met along the way, all our goals were accomplished! We held 13 formal workshops, several more informal ones, and I estimate that 600-700 people learned the basics of plastic bag crochet. We also collected hundreds of crochet hooks to pass out to people we taught.

For a complete listing of our events and workshops, check  our Events page. Also check out the blog we posted to while on the road.

For a more detailed explanation of the project idea, here’s the Kickstarter page we created prior to our trip.

Implementation

While each workshop was tailored to the specific audience (adults, students, children), all workshops emphasized plastic bag crochet as an art form, as a fashion statement, and as a means to lessen India’s ecological footprint on the earth.

The idea is that through learning a fun craft project that involves plastic bags, individuals will become more environmentally conscious, more mindful of the things they throw into the street, and more respectful of the world around them. And hopefully as a result, they will be actively engaged in influencing the trash tossing behavior of their families and communities.

What Next?

Many of our workshop participants are now capable of performing basic crochet stitches, creating simple bag designs, and transforming waste materials into fashionable, reusable products. Some of the NGOs we worked with are looking into opportunities for them to market these products and earn fair wages for their labor.

Any ideas? Want to buy a bag?

We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please contact us.

Learn More About Our Projects (and Receive Updates)

I aim to develop this web site into a platform for posting new designs, sharing tutorials and resources, highlighting interesting news about plastic bag art, and testing ways to construct crochet hooks from materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill (such as old plastic toothbrushes).

I also plan to write about creative plastic projects intended to benefit communities as well as the environment. In addition to posting updates about our India project, I will be highlighting Indian organizations and community groups aimed at recycling plastic or promoting self sufficiency through the sale of eco-friendly handicrafts.

To read blog posts about our crochet tutorials in India, click here.

To receive blog updates by email, scroll to the bottom left of this page (where it says e-mail subscription) and hit the “sign me up!” button.

How You Can Help:

Do you know of any like minded groups in India I should interview? Have you started a similar project in another part of the world? Do you know of any eco friendly or fair trade stores that may be interested in carrying these products? Please contact me and we can discuss!

Also… if you want to donate crochet hooks to my cause, I’d love to hear from you as well! I aim to make this skill accessible to as many people as possible.

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13 responses

  1. Hey Cristen, Meandering here, Thought this might interest you?

    NEW DELHI: After long deliberations, Bharti Enterprises and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Monday announced a 50:50 joint venture to form Bharti Wal-Mart Private Limited for their wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India.
    Through the new venture, the company would serve neighbourhood kirana stores, fruit and vegetable resellers, restaurants and caterers and other business owners, besides catering to the needs of other retailers including Bharti Retail, which would be soon be opening its stores in India.
    According to Raj Jain, Country President for Wal-Mart’s operations in India: “One of the key reasons for Wal-Mart’s international success is the fact that in every location where we operate, we are local. We source local products from local suppliers that appeal to local tastes, needs and fashions. As a wholesale cash-and-carry business, our endeavour is to work with and develop local suppliers and create local beneficiaries along the supply chain.
    Giving details about their business-to-business (B2B) model, Mr. Mittal said the new company would source products from small farmers, artisans and small manufacturers and help them find market for their products.
    Over the next five to seven years, the venture is expected to open 10 to 15 wholesale cash-and-carry facilities and employ approximately 5,000. A typical facility will stand between 50,000 and one-lakh sq. ft. and sell a wide range of fruits and vegetables, groceries and staples, stationery, footwear, clothing, consumer durables and other general merchandise items.

    Something maybe to think about as a point to get across while teaching? And as a side note Walmart sells grocery bags, never seen one but they say they’re there! 🙂

  2. Hi Christine, I am in the CSR commitee of a MNC firm. Can we conduct a workshop or any other corporate event in our Mumbai offices, you think? Please email your reply. Thanks.

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  7. Hi,
    Im planning to get some under- priviledged children at teach them this art. is it possible for you to send tutors in Saket, New Delhi to teach this art. Also i am looking at up cycling. Pls suggest if u can help.
    Thanks,
    Regards,
    Tanvi K Mehta

  8. Hey,
    I am a student in MIT ID, Loni in pune. I am working on plastic bags as a problem and i saw your collection of bags. I would want plastic to become the fashion statement. Could you please email me the procedure and any more ideas you might have?

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